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Sex/Nudity: 1 scene implied adultery. Violence: 12 scenes, including close-up of beaten murder victim. Profanity: 58 harsh expressions. Drugs: 15 instances smoking, drinking.Skip to next paragraph
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Director: Andy Tennant. With Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey, Fred Ward. (102 min.)
Sterritt ** A young New York fashion designer visits her Southern hometown to divorce her husband, sparking bittersweet reunions and a chance to rediscover her roots. This glossy romantic comedy doesn't have a speck of authentic heart or soul you can bet its Hollywood creators wouldn't move to Alabama if their lives depended on it but it provides a colorful setting for Witherspoon's charm.
Staff *** Funny, light-hearted, dreamy.
Sex/Nudity: Some innuendo. Violence: 2 mild scenes. Drugs: 7 scenes with alcohol.
Director: Guy Ritchie. With Madonna, Adriano Giannini, Jeanne Tripplehorn, John Turturro. (92 min.)
Sterritt * A working-class fisherman is stranded on a deserted island with the rich, obnoxious women he works for, and both succumb to their worst instincts before inevitably falling in love. Giannini makes a promising English-language acting debut. Madonna gives the most monotonous, unimaginative, all-around tiresome performance of her career. The material girl is running out of material!
Director: Corey Yuen. With Jason Statham, Qi Shu, Matt Schulze, François Berléand. (92 min.)
Staff * For those who get their kicks from watching karate kicks, meet Jason Statham, Britain's bald-headed answer to Vin Diesel. In this film, Statham's black BMW is a car-for-hire in Southern France be it for carrying contraband or providing robbery getaway. One day, he discovers that the "package" he's due to deliver is a Chinese woman who knows too much about a global slavery ring. And that's the whole plot. The two first flee from the bad guys, then return to beat them up preferably 15 thugs at a time. The choreography and editing are sensational did you know that a T-shirt could be turned into an effective weapon? but the nonstop action soon numbs. The story is little more than a karate contest. By Stephen Humphries
Director: Jay Russell. With Alexis Bledel, William Hurt, Sissy Spacek, Ben Kingsley, Amy Irving. (90 min.)
Sterritt *** A teen girl is abducted by a backwoods family that fears she's discovered a closely guarded treasure the secret of human immortality, available to anyone who drinks from a spring that flows near their home. Meanwhile, she's sought by her worried parents and an enigmatic stranger. The story is engrossing after a slow start. Kingsley is perfect as the menacing outsider.
Staff **1/2 Dark, good cast, predictable, semi-shallow.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 10 scenes, including kidnapping. Profanity: None. Drugs: 1 bar scene.
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. With William H. Macy, George Clooney, Jennifer Esposito. (96 min.)
Sterritt *** Small-time crooks decide to pull off a big-time heist in their Cleveland neighborhood, with predictably chaotic results. Inspired by Mario Monicelli's internationally 1958 comedy "Big Deal on Madonna Street," which it mimics in numerous details, the farce is energetically written, breezily acted, and never quite as dumb as the lunkheads it's about.
Director: Peter Kosminsky. With Alison Lohman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Renée Zellweger, Robin Wright-Penn. (110 min.)
Sterritt ** A 15-year-old shuttles through a series of foster homes after her strong-willed mother is imprisoned for killing her abusive boyfriend. She stays under her mom's sway during their jailhouse visits but eventually realizes she has to chart her own course in life. The acting is heartfelt and Kosminsky directs with quiet assurance. The story is too schematic, though, watching the heroine take on the coloration of each new environment as if she had almost no mind at all, not the unformed but promising mind of a smart, creative youngster.
Staff *** Probing, great cast, crisp, moving.
Sex/Nudity: 8 instances, including implied sex and innuendo. Violence: 11 scenes, including statutory rape, shootings. Profanity: 4 strong expressions. Drugs: 13 scenes of smoking and drinking.